Tiananmen Square Massacre 1989- The Death of Lone Voice of Democracy in Chinese History

Tiananmen Square Massacre

Tiananmen Square Massacre was the death of the lone voice in the history of authoritarian and communist China. Never after that ever, anyone dared to speak against the Communist regime. Tiananmen Square, which was known for the victory of communist China, is also known to be a graveyard for the thousands of martyrs of democracy.

Mao Zedong, the first dictator of Communist China hoisted the red flag for the first time in Tiananmen Square after the victory of Communist Party of China in the civil war of China in 1949 and Deng Xiaoping, shed a stream of red blood to keep the red flag intact. Today on June 4, 2020, it has been 31 years since the bloody Tiananmen Square Massacre but the survivors still speak of the horrors they suffered.

This all started with people being unhappy with the Chinese regime and their oppressive policies. After Deng Xiaoping became the President, he announced that the economy would be opened and various other reforms which were well received by the general public. But later on, due to the sudden increase in cash flow, inflation increased. To control inflation, the Chinese government stopped the cash flow for some time.

This worsened the situation as companies could not get loans and started shedding employees, with increasing unemployment and inflation, came the unaffordable goods and food items. With rise in corruption and wealth distribution due to centralised control people started criticising the government moves. 

Fang Lizhi, a US returnee, who started touring the universities and started people telling about the liberties, human rights and separation of power. He was warned by the authorities to not to indulge in the activities against the interest of the CPC.

The last straw that broke the camel’s back was the death of the Hu Yaobang. His death was propagated by the students as a killing by the CCP. Hu Yaobang was General secretary of CCP till 1987 was a supporter of the demands of students. His death sparked various gatherings and people started gathering in large numbers around the Tiananmen Square. The protestors were mostly students. This gathering started on April 16, 1989. 

This gathering became immensely popular since people from every section and corner were joining the protests and extending their support with whatever means possible. The protestors have key 7 demands which they wanted the government to accept. Minor clashes between students and police started on April 20, 1989. Zhao Zhiyang, who was general secretary back then, wanted to be soft on the students protesting and did not advocate for the use of hard force to crack down on the students. 

On May 19, students organized a rally despite the clear warning of the government and started a hunger strike two days before the state visit of the Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev. The government declared martial law on May 20 to control the protestors. On June 3, state media broadcasted a warning that residents shall stay home which was ignored by the protestors and they continued to join and support the protests.

On the night of June 3, the army opened fire on the protestors which led to the death of thousands and protestors started attacking soldiers and setting army vehicles on fire. This worsened the situation and finally in the morning the great suppression of the lone protest to establish democracy started. Even tanks were used to kill the people who wanted to establish a government which shall be accountable to people and shall work for the people.

On June 9, Deng Xiaoping appeared in public and praised the soldiers that were killed in the protests. He tagged the protestors as the people who wanted to overthrow the party and the state. As per various reports, the martyrs of democracy were from almost every section of society and every field of education.

The Tiananmen Square massacre reminds the people of what a Communist government can do to their people and why it is necessary to safeguard the liberties they have. China again is towing the same line that they towed during the Tiananmen Square Massacre against Hong Kong and leaders of the world fear that the streets of Hong Kong might witness a new Tiananmen Square Massacre style brutality of the People’s Liberation Army. As the world progresses and reaches a new height, it may forget what some have lost for the coming generations to retain the liberty that they fought for. 

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